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CORONAVIRUS (COVID -19) NOTIFICATION TO BCRM PATIENTS

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | March 18th, 2020

Update 11th April 2020

The last few weeks have revealed the challenging effects the Covid situation is having on our daily lives, family, friends and work. Our hearts go out to those who have been affected.

In particular we acknowledge that infertility is a disease, and we appreciate that for many it is time sensitive. For this reason, we recognise that our patients’ suffering is acute and real in the current Covid situation.

Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, BCRM has had to take a number of actions to protect patients and staff. These measures have been guided by the Fertility regulator (HFEA), the British Fertility society, Public Health England and other medical international bodies.

In line with the guidance of these bodies, BCRM along with all other clinics in the UK have had restrictions imposed on what services can be provided. We are however, still continuing to provide telephone/ video consultation, treatment planning and patient support/ counselling.

For those who’ve had to discontinue treatment, we appreciate how devastating it will be for you not to be able to fulfil your chances of having a baby at this time. We will therefore keep you updated with what we are doing by contacting you directly and providing support to you during this difficult and anxious time.

It is too early to assign limits to the scale or duration of how the Covid-19 situation will affect the BCRM and the Fertility sector. We are however, resolute in our determination to commence treatment and do what we are really here to do, that is to help you have babies as promptly as possible. To that aim we can reassure you that we will be putting in place additional resources and systems to enable us to respond to our return to activity, whenever that happens,  with increased capacity.

Please also be assured that our leadership team and key staff remain on duty to advise and support patients and continue whatever services are appropriate. We are also proud that a number of our staff are working with and providing support to the NHS.

It is nevertheless understandable that many have expressed worry and have specific questions about how we will address the Covid situation and hope the answers to “Frequently Asked Questions” here will help:

FAQs for patients planning to have Fertility Treatment at BCRM

 

We thank you all for your understanding in these difficult circumstances, we encourage you to  contact us if you wish to discuss your personal situation

 

Update 24 March 2020 

The safety of patients, colleagues and the public, is paramount. As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19), has reached a lockdown situation, BCRM is following relevant national guidance.

We are revising our approach in light of the following:

  • The number of people in the UK infected with Covid-19 appears to be rising rapidly
  • The UK is now in lockdown
  • Latest guidance (23th March) from the British Fertility Society who have advised all clinics to suspend undertaking Fertility treatment.

 

MEASURES BCRM WILL BE TAKING

FERTILITY TREATMENT 

In line with the above and the announcement by the Prime Minister on 23rd March 2020, we have taken the following action:

 

IVF/ ICSI treatment:

We are not undertaking IVF or ICSI treatment until further notice. The last egg collections will be on Wednesday the 24th of March. Embryos held in storage will be transferred at a later date.

 

FET – frozen embryo transfer treatment:

We are no longer undertaking any embryo transfers whether frozen or fresh.

Your embryos will be transferred at a later date when safe to do so. You will incur no further treatment charge to re-commence treatment other than purchasing further medication if required.

 

IUI – intra uterine insemination:

We will not be undertaking any IUI treatments or inseminations. If you are already in treatment, this will be discontinued and there will be no further charge to recommence treatment at a future date apart from purchasing medication if applicable.

 

Egg donation treatment:

Suitable embryos created with the use of donor eggs will be stored for up to a year and will be transferred at a later date at no extra cost.

 

**PLEASE NOTE**

We will not be undertaking any procedures within the BCRM building after the 24th of March.

We intend to plan and prepare patients for treatment remotely for the future.

 

THE FOLLOWING WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE PLACE: 

Patients with cancer seeking fertility preservation will continue to be supported and gametes stored.

Using telephone or Skype or video as preferred method:

  • New consultations
  • Follow up consultations
  • Fertility and treatment advice
  • Consultations and planning for fertility treatment such as IVF/ ICSI/ IUI/ Donor sperm/ Donor eggs

 

ATTENDING BCRM

Please do not come to the clinic after the 24th unless instructed to do so for an emergency

 

We can also assure you that we hope to be able to start new treatment cycles as soon as possible. Any updates will be posted on this webpage.

We thank our patients for their understanding in these difficult circumstance.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss your personal situation

For the nurses: nurses@bcrm.org.uk  or 07747 031393

 

Please also see: 

Guidance for the care of fertility patients during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

https://www.hfea.gov.uk/about-us/news-and-press-releases/2020-news-and-press-releases/an-open-letter-to-fertility-patients-sally-cheshire-cbe-chair-hfea/

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

www.hfea.gov.uk/about-us/news-and-press-releases/2020-news-and-press-releases/hfea-coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/

www.hfea.gov.uk/treatments/covid-19-and-fertility-treatment/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-professionals/

 

 

Update 18 March 2020 (this update may change during the day)

In light of the rapidly evolving situation relating to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), we would like to reassure patients that we are working on appropriate measures that to enable us continue to deliver our services whilst adhering to the guidance of the Government, Public Health England and other fertility professional bodies such as the BFS, ESHRE and ASRM.

ATTENDING BCRM

Your safety and that of our staff are paramount in our ability to provide a safe service. We will therefore be taking additional measures within the centre to reduce the risk of infection transmission.

We advise that no children are brought into the building, we also recommend that no more than one accompanying adult or partner is present and only if required.

Furthermore, we will be restricting face to face meetings and contact where possible. For example it is now our intention to undertake all routine consultations by telephone or video method such as Skype.

Those of you who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) MUST not attend BCRM. This includes those of you with underlying health conditions which include:

 

FERTILITY TREATMENT 

In line with the UK Government COVID-19 strategy and the announcement by the Prime Minister on 16th March 2020 that the higher risk category includes pregnant women and the suggested expectation to isolate at home for 12 weeks, we are taking the following action:

 

IVF/ ICSI treatment:

If you are already in treatment, we recommend that any suitable embryos created are frozen and transferred at a later date. You will incur no cost for freezing for up to a year.

 

FET – frozen embryo transfer treatment:

We recommend not proceeding with the transfer of embryos at this stage. You will incur no further treatment charge to re-commence treatment other than purchasing further medication if required.

 

IUI – intra uterine insemination:

We will not be undertaking any IUI treatments or inseminations. If you are already in treatment, this will be discontinued and there will be no further charge to recommence treatment at a future date apart from purchasing medication if applicable.

 

Egg donation treatment:

Any suitable embryos created with the use of donor eggs will be stored for up to a year and will be transferred at a later date at no extra cost.

 

**PLEASE NOTE**

Whilst we are continuing to provide treatment to patients as described above, those who are due to start a fertility treatment cycle in the next few weeks may wish to consider deferring their start date. This is because there are significant risks that any fertility treatment such as IVF or ICSI cycles started now may have to be postponed before you reach egg collection. If so your treatment will be recommenced at a later date with no additional cost, apart from medication if required. We will however, continue to plan and prepare patients for treatment.

You will appreciate that if a complication arises during the course of treatment or  pregnancy, the NHS may not be in an optimal position to support you due to the strains of the Covid-19 situation.

The reasons we might have to stop treatment include:

  • Government imposed restrictions on all non-urgent medical or otherwise activity
  • Government mobilisation of key staff in the healthcare sector to NHS establishments to care for the sick
  • Government imposed nationwide lockdown
  • Reduced staff number at BCRM to provide a safe service if they are infected by Covid-19 or having to undergo enforced self-isolation or having to care for others such as the young or elderly

 

THE FOLLOWING WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE PLACE: 

Ultrasound scans and blood tests  are continuing as normal but with extra infection control measures.

Sperm tests.

Patients with cancer seeking fertility preservation will continue to be supported and gametes stored.

Using telephone or Skype or video as preferred method:

  • New consultations
  • Follow up consultations
  • Fertility and treatment advice
  • Fertility tests, investigations and MOTs
  • Consultations and planning for IVF/ ICSI treatment
  • Consultations and planning for FET treatment
  • Consultations and planning for IUI treatment
  • Consultations and planning for Donor egg treatment

 

These recommendations will prevent you being put into an immediate higher risk (pregnancy) situation and will also reduce the potential risk of OHSS and pregnancy complications requiring hospital admission with the potential of an added strain on NHS resources at this time.

BCRM will continue to provide updates on this rapidly changing situation  –

Please review our website regularly and email any concerns to inof@BCRM.org.uk rather than contacting BCRM by telephone.

Please also see: 

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

www.hfea.gov.uk/about-us/news-and-press-releases/2020-news-and-press-releases/hfea-coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/

COVID-19 Statement from British Fertility Society and Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists

www.asrm.org/news-and-publications/news-and-research/press-releases-and-bulletins/asrm-issues-new-guidance-on-fertility-care-during-covid-19-pandemiccalls-for-suspension-of-most-treatments/

www.eshre.eu/Press-Room/ESHRE-News#CoronaStatement27feb